Oct 9, 2021 - World

Uber driver who plotted to join Taliban convicted on terrorism-related charges

Aerial photo of a New York City street
The Bronx borough of New York City, where the convicted Delowar Mohammed Hossain was a resident and worked as an Uber driver. Photo: David Dee Delgado via Getty Images

An Uber driver who plotted to join the Taliban and kill Americans was convicted Friday on two terrorism-related charges, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: The Taliban's swift takeover of Afghanistan earlier this year was in part enabled by recruiting fighters like Delowar Mohammed Hossain and spreading propaganda to potential members all around the world, per the New York Times.

Details: Hossain, a Bronx resident who worked as an Uber driver, first expressed a desire to join the Taliban in 2018, according to the Justice Department.

  • In the following months, he attempted to recruit a confidential FBI source to travel with him.
  • Hossain, a naturalized U.S. citizen and Bangladesh native, outlined an itinerary that he believed would conceal his intention to join the Taliban and saved $10,000 for buying weapons and other supplies after reaching Afghanistan, federal prosecutors say.
  • "Hossain allegedly wanted to kill Americans, and particularly wanted to target members of our armed forces serving our nation overseas," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement after Hossain's arrest.
  • The FBI intercepted Hossain in July 2019 at JFK International Airport as he prepared to board his flight to Thailand, the first leg of his route to Afghanistan.

Lawyers for Hossain argue that he was set up and had not actually planned to join the Taliban. "Thinking about committing a crime isn't a crime," attorney Amy Gallicchio said in her closing argument, per the Post.

Worth noting: U.S. officials and senior Taliban leaders will meet in person for the first time since the fall of Afghanistan in Doha this weekend.

Go deeper